Tuesday, May 28, 2019


For some goodly amount of years, I've lived a very short trip's distance from the original D-land. Close enough to hear the fireworks nightly, esp. in colder seasons, when they boom and echo quite nicely some miles distant.

Having attended the park regularly since a few years after it opened, once I moved this close to the park, I got an annual passport. I enjoy the park as precisely that, a park: a place to people watch, get a meal, go on a couple of rides or watch the fireworks up close, and then split. An average year would see me there twenty to forty times, briefly, rather than doing the family-typical Annual Bataan Death March visit, and trying to do it all in a day.

Lately, however, the minions of Mauschwitz Corporate HQ have seen fit to make the park experience into one that has reached both peak expense, and maximum guest annoyance, and there seems to be no end in sight to that policy. I've never been to the larger version in Orlando, so I leave it to those east of Big Muddy to speak to that experience. I suspect, like the parks, it's just as bad as it is here, just on a bigger scale.

And as the nominal cherry on the whole poop sandwich, this year they're opening StarWarsLand, AKA "Galaxy's Edge", to help milk the last dollars from pay off the $6B they paid to George Lucas to loot and pillage the franchise lock, stock, and barrel. The movies of late should give you a great idea of how that's gone for long-time Star Wars fans.

But no matter what, some people will always strain out the crap to get to the parts of the whole thing that still appeal to them, and the impending opening of a new land will be no exception.

Having blown their one chance at a proper opening (May the Fourth, obviously; Disney imagineers, you had one job, and a two-year head start to get it right on cue, and you choked massively...) they will be debuting it on May 31st hereabouts, with an August 29th opening for the not-quite-identical version in Orlando at Hollywood Studios.

To (partially) stem the inevitable human avalanche this will create, they figured out a way to piss off just about everyone, by time-limiting the initial opening visits - only if you have a reservation - to four hours through June 23rd. Eventually, they hope things will stabilize, and it will be just another part of the park. Sh'yeah, probably around 2025. Or, you can stay at their hotels, and visit early during special hours (literally, 6AM-9AM, before the park's general public opening) to help assuage the room rates.

At any rate, the experience of late with the main park having gotten beyond annoying as hell (and believe me, I'm understating it), I haven't renewed this year's passport, nor will for another year or two, to give the stupidity attending this opening a good long chance to mellow out.

I should mention that they were originally going to hire cast members to help populate the Cantina Bar, but with the inundation of Orange County with people not from anywhere around here over the last 20 years, just letting the usual local People Of Walmart hereabouts into the park will more than approximate the crowd from Tatooine without any additional assistance from casting.

But if you were wondering what to expect there, in case you ever manage to get inside (or if you're prudently planning to skip the whole thing for some time like I am), I give you a couple of their insider sneak-peaks at what to expect. If they hadn't already soured a lifelong enjoyment of Walt's genius with their shenanigans of late, I might be more enthusiastic. Instead, this vicarious tour is probably all I need to see of it for some months, before I ever experience it in person.


Angantyr said...

My wife works there so I was able to get in on the cast sneak preview. The ride is fun, though could be better. While it's technically interactive, there really isn't too much that you can do apart from push buttons and have a very limited ability to steer the Falcon. Maybe it's just me, but if I'm going to be a gunner, I wanna be able to aim the laser cannons myself, rather than just push a button. It's still pretty cool, and the animatronics in the briefing area before you get on the ride are very impressive. Didn't get to go to the Cantina as the line was quite long, which is too bad. The overall appearance of this Land is amazing, of course, but there is only so much one can really do. On the plus side, if you're looking for your very own Jedi bathrobe ensemble, you may get whatever you seek (but you can't wear it into the park...)

June J said...

Having been to both "Land" and "World" many, many years ago, I have no interest in going back regardless of what attractions they create. Well, unless it was public executions of progressive socialists....

SiGraybeard said...

I'm about 75 miles from World and ran out of interest long enough ago that I don't go. At a little over an hour away, it's close enough to visit if out of town family or friends want to visit, but far enough that your "just treat it like a park" isn't practical.

I don't think I've been there since my son was graduating high school, around Y2K.

I didn't see the Solo movie, but have seen the rest. The first, where they handed off the franchise to the next generation, seemed to have a reason for existing. The rest have been perfunctory.

Reminds me of Mel Brooks, "God willing, we'll meet again in Space Balls 2: the Search for More Money".

Sherm said...

I watched Neal Armstrong take his first step while I was standing in the plaza in Tomorrowland. Earlier, I remember Walt Disney explaining of television the new ride he envisioned, Pirates of the Caribbean. I suspect that kind of infectious enthusiasm was ruthlessly stomped out at Disney sometimes after his death. I believe back in the day there were five E-ticket rides, one of which was always closed. The ticket books had a way of spreading out visitors. You only had so many E and D tickets. Once those were gone you had to go do other things like the shooting galleries (C-ticket) or the trolley (A-ticket). Eventually, my father had a stash of A and B tickets in a box that grew ever larger. They'd be hauled out when we visited DL but never got used.
The tickets went away when I was a teen and the lines grew longer.
They also had interesting shops along the streets. I always found the magic shop entertaining. The Pendleton shop bespoke quality goods if you had the money for it. I only faulted DL on their food. It was dreadful.
Nowadays the food is better, the lines are even longer, and every shop sells only Disney. I can't imagine a large screen showing anything, not even a moon landing, there now. I haven't been in 15 years.

The Freeholder said...

Last time at Disney World was 10-ish years ago for a family trip at Christmas. Other than the fully plundered wallet, we all enjoyed it. No plans on another trip.

As for Star Wars, it jumped the shark years ago. Zero interest at this point in my life. Now a Firefly reboot on the other hand....

Brenda said...

I lived very close to Disneyland for my whole childhood. In junior high and high school I would save my allowance and babysitting money and go to Disneyland about three times a summer. My parents would drop my sister and me off in the morning and pick us up after dark. That was the good old days of tickets. Very affordable and not too crowded. The last time I went was in the mid 90's to take my teenage daughters. Never again. Not enough fun for way too much money. Can't stand the crowds.

Cranky Old Fart said...

Hey, Aesop, I'm curious what you mean here:

"Lately, however, the minions of Mauschwitz Corporate HQ have seen fit to make the park experience into one that has reached both peak expense, and maximum guest annoyance, and there seems to be no end in sight to that policy."

Is "maximum guest annoyance" a reference to crowds, or something else? I haven't been to either DL or DW since the 90's and don't intend to anytime soon, mainly because the crowds were huge. I'm just wondering if they've gone and done something else to add to the annoyance.

Goose said...

Went there in FL because my Grand child was there.

After 20 minutes of "my managed experience" did not know if I was going to vomit or shit my pants - maybe both. Could not get out of there fast enough. Can not think of a nice thing to say. Cannot imagine why anyone would go back except if they wanted to be dragged along by the smelly crowds and not have to have a sane thought for the duration. A zillion of yelling screaming out of control ankle biters in one place calls for a MOAB

Tannhauser said...

Just as a side note to the Disneyland theme,there is an old "Fractured Fairytale " cartoon on Yew Toob from Rocky and Bullwinkle that satirizes the whole shtick with a particular dig at Ol' Wallet Disney . Quite funny!

Aesop said...

@Cranky Old Fart

Where shall I begin?
First, they've jacked admission and parking prices ten times faster than inflation, for both regular admission and every level of pass, multiple times.
And let's face it, the parking structure was paid off 20 years ago, but the prices just keep climbing. Now they're building a complete second one, but the main park is nearly the same size as it was in 1955. Figure out how that's going to work out.

Then, I drive a vehicle too long/tall for the main structure. But now they've moved bus/RV/oversize parking a mile away. Which means I have to take a city bus (with all the customer service that entails). Which, unlike the trams, run not every couple of minutes, but closer to every 10-20 minutes. And they also let everyone else park there, rather than funneling them to the main parking structure. The last visit, I could have driven from OC to LAX, caught a flight to Vegas, and arrived at McCarran International faster than I traveled the 1 mile to the park entrance, coupled with an hour wait to get screened, then enter the gates, and get inside. Not exaggerating one bit there. Massive eff up. Now a regular occurrence.

Then there's the mandatory TSA-level cavity search outside their safety zone, always woefully understaffed, and they rarely if ever have the lines open for people like myself, without a baby stroller and four backpacks, thus forcing me to wait for every swinging Richard who does have one to be meticulously pawed over, just to go wait in the entry line. And what's worse, exactly like TSA, I could get a gun past the screening (and I mean I know how to do it, and could actually pull it off, due entirely to their lackadaisical methods of searching), but yet they invariably nearly strip search me for my metallic belt buckle and 75¢ in loose pocket change.

Once you get inside, there are 4 parades and 2 Phantasmic! performances daily, plus the fireworks which are now nightly year around, or almost so (except for wind/weather), which gridlocks the entire goddam park for hours and miles a minimum of 7x/day, and shuts down any hope of getting from any value of point A to point B from about 5PM to 10PM nightly, in anything less than 2 hours. Couple this with hordes of cast-holes waving flashlights and yelling at guests like Nazi prison camp guards unloading boxcars at Treblinka, throughout the park, to "solve"/create the pedestrian gridlock problem all those annoyances brought about. Nothing like having bored surly teenagers waving flashlights and screaming at you to make you feel like they appreciate you being there.

The fastpass system for high-volume rides is a total PITA, when it would be simpler and fairer to just let the lines move normally, and let people decide what they want to go on by actually showing up.

Aesop said...

Their schizophrenic no-smoking policy crams those who partake and can't tame their nicotine urge into areas pre-planned to blow their outflow into dining areas, and the only sections where you can actually move. Either allow it everywhere, or ban it everywhere; putting them in ghetto chimney farms isn't working at all, and the people who think their vape contraptions are cleverly invisible everywhere else are even worse.

The food prices I can hang with, as both the quality and portions cover that, but they've got bottled sodas and water up to double the real-world prices just a block away outside the park. It's easier to Camelbak my days there, but I shouldn't have to be a soft drink and water ninja to get it in.

And despite prices that make dinner in London seem like a non-profit experience, I've lost track of how many clans of Turd Worlders had their pre-literate sprogs happily whipping it out and taking a whiz while standing in line in front of God and everybody, while their 70-IQ family just smiles and laughs. I swear, I'm going to start sticking a finger down my throat and vomiting on them out of self defense the next time it happens, and see how they like it.

Finally, there's just the overcrowding itself.
Used to be, at a given capacity, they'd close the gates and tell folks to come back another day. Having made the mistake years ago of visiting on the day after Christmas ("no one will be there? WRONG! it's worse than 4th of July!, I've been in the Flintstone car wash of bodies where you literally cannot move two steps.
But now, taking the Tokyo subway as their working model, they just keep cramming more bodies in until it's Hell on earth.
Even on a Tuesday in mid-winter, outside any busy seasons.
It's now summer crowds there 12 months a year.

That's before we talk about fat-asses women walking 5 strollers abreast, and trying to shove them in front of you if you dare to pass them, or the maniacal kamikaze scooter bitches running amok 24/7. I've had to throw elbows and clothesline the little sumbitches when they run into you or over you, from in front, behind, or beside you, and over your feet, because they're blind and crippled, and have no sense of decorum nor any vague idea of responsibility. And I swear to Buddha the next unsupervised toddler that smacks into me for the fifth time in two minutes I'm going to snatch up by the collar and hold for ransom until a responsible adult shows up, or throw them into the nearest water feature, and if mom or dad has anything to say but an profuse apology, I'm going to activate someone's dental plan.

And now they're going to pimp the hell out of an entire new land, that they should have wedged into the vast attraction-free section that is California Adventure, where there's fuck-all to do worth the trouble, but instead jammed it into a too small corner of the main park, already over-subscribed, where it thematically fits with absolutely nothing whatsoever, after shutting down 1/3 of the park just to make it fit?

And this is coming from someone who likes the place, and can still see some pittance of Walt's original visionary magic in it.

But they've finally gotten me to say "F**k it" until further notice.

Whoever the park GM is (I could look it up, but IDGAF), and anyone above him, are clearly brainless @$$holes.

Cranky Old Fart said...

Damn! That sounds hellish on just about every level.

Thanks for the rundown… I consider myself warned.

waepnedmann said...

Thank you.
I had never thought of Disneyland as a people watching experience while on a bench in a park-like setting.
That would be good reason to go.
I have family members who save, budget vacation days, and sacrifice to make their trips to Disneyland.
They have begged me to go.
I have never been interested.

Years ago I attended a conference for SCUBA instructors and stayed at the Disneyland hotel.
When I returned home I was asked what rides I had gone on at Disneyland.
It never occurred to me to go on the rides.
I got together with some of the other people at the conference, we chartered a boat, and went lobster diving off of the Channel Islands.

Then there is the problem with my last name.
It begins with "W", and since the army runs almost everything alphabetically I had learned, early in life, to loathe standing in line.

And I hate crowds.

People watching would be very interesting there.
But, with your comments regarding new policies and pricing, it still seems like a good place to not be.
Also, it feels like a target zone for bad guys.

Aesop said...

That's the reason for the security.
It's also the only no fly zone in the US besides the White house and the Capitol, for cause.

I've already gamed out in my head half a dozen ways to top the 9/11 box score there, on a budget.
So if i can think of it, the only reason it hasn't happened isn't because the security is so airtight, it's because Achmed and Habib simply don't have the resources and assets in place.

MMinLamesa said...

Dude, a couple things here. You are of course, one who doesn't sleep and god bless you for that. A conscious, 24 hr/day is a great thing. How you do that must be a function of your ER work.

And the level of...taking it? with DL is so utterly foreign to me that you might as well be talking about life on Venus. Here in w Texas I'm dealing with a whole 'nother reality and crowds, lines and traffic aren't factored in.

Your great climate pales in the tradeoff

Anonymous said...

Haven't been to W, never will. Went to L back in the 80's twice, when I was in my 20s and the crowds were non existent on rainy November days. Last time we went, my son was about six, daughter four. We were mandated by the relatives we were with to be there at opening (and early, as they'd paid for early access) and we didn't leave until after Tink's last flight.

Holee Fuck. This is 20+ years ago, and I'm still scarred from the experience. Yeah, it was summer. Yeah, the crowds were stupid, enormous, and stroller attacks were everywhere. Food sucked. Everything overpriced. In the end, we rode probably 5 rides in the entire visit and stood in line for a cumulative time of 8 hours.

No desire to ever go back, and it's only gone to shit since then. Since the SJW leadership destroyed the Star Wars story, I've no desire to ever see another one.

John Wilder said...


Cracks me up every time I see it, because it's perfect in at least three dimensions.


Aesop said...

Industry-standard term. Public domain. Been around for decades.

Oh, and MM, I do sleep, it's just not...regular, because I go from days off to nights on, so it cycles as necessary. I like sunlight occasionally, but it's not an everyday option.

The thing to bear in mind is that the DL experience hasn't changed much for anyone who does the one day Bataan Death March Visit, with kids in tow.
I stopped doing that (or needing to) twenty years ago, but it's exactly the same now as it was in the '80s.

But now it's the Fourth of July there, every day, 24/7/365, and even casual evening visits during the off-season are like going at noon on Saturdays in July.

They have gone out of their way to make it all horrible, all the time, and it's deliberate and calculated. Had they shoe-horned Galaxy's Edge over in California Adventure, where it belonged, they would have improved both parks, and evened out what is largely a massive waste of time. (You can guess what introducing alcohol to D-land there will do for the park overall. I'm not sanguine about how that's going to go either. People in D-land are full-bore @$$holes now, nominally sober. So let's, by all means, add intoxication from 21-and-up to that mix, and see what happens, shall we?)

As it is, they've done everything in the worst way, maximizing the suck factor, and it'll probably persist that way for years, if not forever.

It's far worse than a defeat, it's a blunder.

Between that, and the illegal immigration tsunami finally flipping the last [R] county [D] in coastal SoCal, it's mainly highlighted why it's time to pull up long-term stakes hereabouts, and get my ducks in a row for a move to the outback, something that's proceeding as planned for what I expect to be the great unpleasantness coming along out in the fogbanks just over the horizon.

The day that the byline for this becomes there, rather than here, will be truly glorious, on so many levels, I will scarcely be able to contain myself.

But nothing happens overnight.

Sanders said...

Haven't been there since I was 13 yrs old. It was spring time. All I remember were the hot California babes. Bras were out of fashion then and my eyes were bugging out of my head.

Rides? Well, I do remember the Pirates of the Caribbean ride...

I do remember that I didn't like the long lines, so never had any desire to go back.

waepnedmann said...

"I've already gamed out in my head a half dozen ways..."

There is a weird phenomena, known to writers of fiction, that what they dream up seems to come out of some collective consciousness and appears at the same time in everything from books, short stories, TV scripts, comics, and battle plans.
The example that comes to mind is the Terry and the Pirates comic incident that included code names of US plans regarding our friends the Japanese just prior to Pearl Harbor. The FBI knocked on the writer's asking questions.

If your thinking "it" there is a good chance someone else is tuned into that same cosmic flow.

I just spent a weekend with a family member who is into drones.
I had no idea they were so fast,powerful, and had such range with just off-the-shelf technology.
It was educational.
I mentioned, to him, the article I had read last year about some Texas rednecks hunting pigs after nightfall using drones with infra-red cameras, laptops on the tailgates of their pickups, and fire-teams with night vision capabilities.
The pigs never knew what hit them.
Oh, and that, "I'll just shoot them down with a load of quailshot with my 12 gauge."
Good luck with that. Their speed and acceleration would challenge a world champion trap shooter.
Then I thought, block the control signal! And then immediately emembered frequency hopping.
This is a powerful technology that we have yet to see used against us in the US. (thank you Senator Paul for your filibuster while McCain (spit) had lunch with Obama).

Beans said...

weaponman - John Ringo deals with a multi-prong terrorist assault on Disneyworld and other theme parks in the Kissimmee area in his book "A Deeper Blue." And he lays it out very openly. I am sure the Disney execs started pooping bricks after it came out.

Travis Taylor has the beginning of his second "Tau Ceti Agenda" series, conveniently called "The Tau Ceti Agenda" at Disneyworld (in the future) where all the animatronics 'come to life.'

So, well, yeah. Ratworld (as it is also called in the Central Florida area) has used up and spit out too many people, and also replaced too many citizen workers with H1B visa holders. Plus, the PRIDE coalition has taken over behind the scenes, turning the place... Fabulous (gag, barf, hork, erg, vomit, etc...)

I like Epcot, MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom, but actual Ratworld? Nah.

And now that my beloved is a member of the scooter people, well, screw the crowds.

As to drones, yes, they are a nightmare waiting to happen, contrary to what one person who regularly flames Borepatch, Aesop and Bayou Renaissance Man regarding his opinion that commercial hobby drones will never be weaponized. Yeah, right, pull the other one.

RatLand and RatWorld... Never Again.

SeaWorld, now that they've started caving to PETA and other animal activists, Dead To Me.

Busch Gardens in Tampa requires going to... Hell's Entrance, otherwise known as the slums of Tampa.

Nope. Not ever doing a theme park again.